I recently got very into my Spotify playlists — I cleaned them all up (deleted songs I wasn’t into anymore and categorized more appropriately) and have been listening to music non-stop when I’m getting work done and applying for jobs. I’ve never considered myself a music person — I don’t constantly have earbuds in nor am I listening to anything new or different on a regular basis — but since graduating, I’ve found the power in music being able to motivate and inspire me even on my toughest days.
If you know me at all, you know I’ve been listening to “Hamilton” regularly since spring break when I drove down to my hometown (a thirteen-hour drive) with two of my friends, and we listened to it the whole way through four times (it’s about 2.5 hours, so it was a great jam to break up the trip). Stepping away from my “Hamilton” playlist has been a bit hard, but the songs I’ve been listening to lately inspire me to be the bad*ss b*tch everyone knows and loves.
These songs are gender inclusive, I simply say they are #girlboss songs because that’s how they make me feel — confident and ready to get shit done like any girl boss should.
Warning: I am a pop-culture snail, and I live under a rock 97 percent of the time when it comes to new music, so these aren’t revolutionary musical discoveries, just some tunes I throw on to feel motivated.
1. Team by Krewella
Standout Lyric: I don’t know about you but I’m feeling fine // ‘Cause all I need in this life are a few good ride or dies
My friend Alyssa sent this song to me one day saying it made her think of me, so naturally I listened to it 12 times in the same day. Anytime I put this song on, I instantly feel empowered. I’m a complete introvert, so I’ve never had a ton of friends (I’ve always been a believer in quality over quantity), but the friends I do have, I am incredibly close with. This song reminds me that that’s not a bad thing — your team should be close-knit and always have your back.
2. Sit Still, Look Pretty by Daya
Standout Lyric: And I might love me some vanilla but I’m not that sugar sweet // Call me HBIC
To be completely honest, this song actually bothers me if I think about it too much because it isn’t logical (see her line about the seven dwarfs from “Snow White”), but it’s still a jam. I’m at a phase in my life where I have absolutely no interest in dating — I’m much more dedicated to strengthening my friendships and building my empire. Daya reminds me that it’s okay to feel this way, despite society constantly telling me that I need to be in a relationship to validate my self-worth (no, thank you).
3. Sorry Not Sorry by Demi Lovato
Standout Lyric: Now payback is a bad b*tch // And baby, I’m the baddest // You f*ckin’ with a savage
When I told my friend Harry this was my new favorite song, he laughed and called me basic. He’s not wrong. I heard Demi’s new song the other day and immediately knew it had to be added to this playlist. She’s such an inspiration to me and an incredibly healthy role model for young girls to look up to. This song is the epitome of #girlboss, and it serves as a great reminder to never apologize for what you worked for tirelessly.
4. Let it Go by Idina Menzel (Frozen)
Standout Lyric: It’s funny how some distance // Makes everything seem small
I am 22 years old, and I still regularly watch Disney movies. Judge me. As soon as “Frozen” was released, it was instantly my favorite Disney movie (sorry, “The Little Mermaid”). I saw it twice in theaters — something I typically refuse to do because I am (was?) a poor college student. “Let it Go” always reminds me that, whatever I am facing, I can and will make it through stronger than before.
5. HAPPINESS by NEEDTOBREATHE
Standout Lyric: I got dreams that keep me up in the dead of night // Telling me I wasn’t made for the simple life
I first heard this song while attending an a cappella concert at my university. I fell in love with it then, and I’ve been playing it constantly this summer to remind myself to follow my dreams no matter what. We are all destined for greatness, some of us just have to fight for it a little more. (I’ve attached the video from Twisted Measure — the a cappella group from my school — but NEEDTOBREATHE’s version is also amazing.)
6. King of Anything by Sara Bareilles
Standout Lyric: But you expect me to // Jump up on board with you // And ride off into your delusional sunset
Sara Bareilles just gets it. She isn’t dealing with any of your crap and neither am I. I feel like I’ve finally reached that stage in my life where I am not going to do something just to please someone, and Bareilles backs me up when I’m feeling a little weak. This song reminds me that my choices and beliefs are valid, and I don’t need to meld them to anyones standards or expectations.
7. America’s Sweetheart by Elle King
Standout Lyric: You tryna change me, you can go to hell // Cause I don’t wanna be nobody else
You don’t need to be someone you aren’t to please other people. Plain and simple. Thank you Elle King.
8. NO by Meghan Trainer
Standout Lyric: If I want a man, // Then I’mma get a man // But it’s never my priority
I first heard this song after a huge fight with a friend when I went on a run to blow off some steam (Anyone else do that? I always have my best workouts when I’m channeling extra energy into my cardio). She’s no lyrical genius, but Trainer reminds me that it’s okay to say “no” and leave it at that. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your choices.
9. Nobody’s Perfect by Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus)
Standout Lyric: You live and you learn it // And if I mess it up sometimes // Nobody’s perfect
You bet your butt I still belt this song out on long car rides. Recently, my friend Katie and I got stuck in traffic on our way back to school from a trip to Nashville, and the only thing that got us through that jam was some old school Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus (A mix my roommate made for me freshman year! Thanks, Rachel!). No matter your age, it’s important to remember that NOBODY is perfect, not even you, and that’s okay.
10. Shake It Off! by Taylor Swift
Standout Lyric: ‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play // And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate // Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I’m sure we’ve all heard Tay-Tay’s new song (if I’ve heard it, you’ve heard it), but no matter how you feel about her new release, you can’t deny that Taylor’s 2014 “Shake It Off” is a great anthem. One of my old roommates had the mantra plastered over her mirror so she saw it every morning when she woke up. It’s important to remember to “shake it off,” no matter what is going on in your life. (I like to remind myself that’s it’s only life — there’s no need to take everything so seriously at age 22.) It’s always a new day, so start each morning off with a fresh perspective and intentions to make it the best day yet.
11. Shout Out to My Ex by Little Mix
Standout Lyric: You made my heart break and that made me who I am // Here’s to my ex, hey, look at me now, well, I // I’m all the way up, I swear you’ll never, you’ll never bring me down
This song came into my life at the perfect time. I probably listened to it every day for a solid month, full out dancing on my way to work or class. If you’ve just gone through a breakup (or even if you haven’t), I promise listening to this song will make you want to bust a move and remind you of the boss lady (or man) you are, with or without a significant other.
12. Unbreakable Smile by Tori Kelly
Standout Lyric: That’s when I realized I wanna make a difference // Change other people’s lives, give hope, even for a moment
“Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.” Kelly’s song reminds me of that quote every time I hear it and the power a smile can have — science has shown that literally forcing your mouth into a grin can change your mood. Never let anyone hold the power to change your smile — it’s unbreakable, and so are you.
13. My Give a Damn’s Busted by Jo Dee Messina
Standout Lyric: You’ve really done it this time // My give a damn’s busted
Spoiler alert: I’m really uncool and listen to country music 75 percent of the time. This song is old (like 12 years old – old), but it still reminds me that there is a difference between showing someone kindness and being taken advantage of for it. There is a line between knowing when to forgive someone for an honest mistake, and knowing when to move on from an unhealthy relationship — a line most of us spend our whole lives trying to figure out. I’m the type of person that will toe that line for quite some time, but once it’s crossed, it’s crossed for good, and I am done — kind of like Messina in this song.
If you’re having a tough time starting out your week, throw on any of the songs listed above, and I promise you will be inspired to tackle the tasks ahead (and if you don’t, message me and I’ll send you some personal motivation)!